Meaning of CELTIC LITERATURE in English


the body of writings composed in Irish and the languages derived from it, Scottish Gaelic and Manx, and in Welsh and its sister languages, Breton and Cornish. A brief account of Celtic literature follows. For full treatment, see Celtic Literature. Ireland never became part of the Roman Empire, preserving its Celtic culture far better than did those regions of Britain (Scotland, Wales, and Cornwall) that were least Romanized, and it did not succumb to the Anglo-Saxon invasion. It did, however, embrace Christianity, and the Druids, as priests of pagan gods, disappeared. Their successors, called fili, fostered the native culture and were primarily an order of learned men responsible for keeping and transmitting the nation's oral traditions. They left fragments of genealogies and laws in verse. Christianity had its own culture and its own learned men, who in Ireland tolerated the native culture more than in other countries. They also brought the art of writing, so that a great flowering of culture occurred, both secular and ecclesiastical. In the 9th century Irishmen became known abroad as scholars, for, under the impact of the Viking invasions, the old monastic system crumbled and many learned Irishmen fled their country, taking valuable manuscripts with them. After the Vikings were repulsed, there was a cultural revival, although the emphasis was on Gaelic, rather than on Latin, learning. Ireland was therefore well placed to take advantage of the 12th-century Renaissance, although the Anglo-Norman invasion of the time brought social disruption. Ecclesiastical scholars renewed their efforts to write down traditions that were still basically oral. The Book of the Dun Cow and, later, the Book of Leinster, both of the 12th century, testify to their success. These manuscripts and those of a later period, such as the 16th-century Book of the Dean of Lismore, which includes the work of Scottish Gaelic poets and shows that Irish culture was shared by the Gaelic Scots throughout the European Middle Ages, have preserved a body of literature remarkable in extent, variety, and archaic features. Its tales form different cycles: the Ulster, Mythological, Historical, and Fenian. The most famous tale in the most important cycle, that of Ulster, is The Cattle Raid of Cooley. It describes the epic struggle of the men of Connaught under Queen Medb against the men of Ulster under King Conchobar supported by C Chulainn, the greatest of all Irish heroes, although he was subsequently superseded in popular favour by Fionn, the hero of the Fenian cycle (one of many changes in popular taste that affected Irish literature in the 12th century). Although they contain archaic features, the Welsh tales, 11 in number and collectively called the Mabinogion, are of a later age than are the Irish ones and are preserved in later manuscripts, notably the White Book of Rhydderch and the Red Book of Hergest, both of about the 14th century. The most famous of them, The Four Branches of the Mabinogi, of the second half of the 11th century or later, has a much more sophisticated narrative style than has Culhwch and Olwen (c. 1100), which retains pronounced folk-tale characteristics. King Arthur is featured in the latter and in the three romances, Owain and Luned, Geraint and Enid, and Peredur the Son of Efrawg, which correspond to the Yvain, Erec, and Perceval of the 12th-century French poet Chrtien de Troyes, although the precise relationship between the two canons is still disputed. The chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia regum Britanniae (c. 1136) launched the Arthurian legend and Celtic motifs into the mainstream of European literature. Geoffrey was descended from a Breton family that had entered Britain with the Normans, and the Bretons were renowned at the time as storytellers, so that Brittany may well have been another source of Celtic legend. Unfortunately, neither Breton nor Cornish has preserved any distinctively Celtic medieval prose or poetry other than the Breton political prophesy, The Dialogue between Arthur and Guenglaff, found in a manuscript from about 1450. Apart from a few fragments of poems, no early Breton literature has survived. The Middle Breton texts extant are mostly of the 16th century or later and are largely derivative. They may be divided into religious poems, the longest of which is The Mirror of Death (1519), and religious plays in verse form, three of which present the lives of St. Nonn, St. Gwenole, and St. Barbara. The Life of St. Catherine (published 1576), although only a translation, is the first substantial prose work extant. The first literary text in Middle Cornish to survive is a dramatic composition (c. 1400) in which a girl is praised for her virtues and offered as a wife. From the 15th century there is a long poem, The Passion of Our Lord; a dramatic trilogy, the Ordinalia; and from 1504 The Life of Meriasek. The first and only Modern Cornish composition Gwreans an Bys (1611; The Creation of the World), appeared as the language began to decline. It seems clear that the bardic order so typical of the Celts in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales failed either to establish itself or to survive in Cornwall and Brittany. The Gaelic, Scottish Gaelic, and Welsh bards in the later Middle Ages continued the tradition of laudatory poetry that they had inherited from their predecessors; indeed, it became their main genre. They continued to be trained in schools of different kinds. This training was reflected in the highly traditional content of their poems, in the extremely intricate nature of their well-named strict metresthe Irish dn dreach and the Welsh canu caethand their consistently fine craftmanship. In Ireland the poets were increasingly members of bardic families, such as the O'Dalys. They restricted the scope of their compositions almost exclusively to praise of the lords on whom they depended for patronage; they insisted on greater strictness in rhyme and lavishness of poetic ornament; and they specialized in two related fields of traditional lore, the historical and the genealogical. When patronage ceased with the disappearance of the native nobility, the bardic schools were disbanded and the dn dreach metres gave way to the simpler, although still well-embellished, amhrn, or song metres. Welsh poetry had begun with the early 6th-century bards, Taliesin and Aneirin in particular; it underwent a revival in the 12th and 13th centuries in the poems, mainly awdlau, or odes, of the poets of the princes and continued in the poems, mainly cywyddau, of the poets of the nobility and landed aristocracy. With the gradual Anglicization of the latter from Tudor times onward, the poets lost their patrons and were unable to maintain their professional status and standards. The cywydd had replaced the awdl partly because one of its first practitioners was a poet of outstanding genius, Dafydd ap Gwilym (fl. 134070), but its golden age was the century from 1435 to 1535. The canu caeth metres, including the cywydd, lost popularity to the free metres but continued to be used. The invention of printing, the Renaissance, and the Reformation (the latter particularly strongly resisted in Ireland) made little immediate impact on Celtic culture other than in Wales, where humanism made itself felt and the influence of the Bible translated into Welsh was profound. In the 18th century the Methodist revival brought Protestantism home to Welshmen now literate for the first time, producing their greatest hymn writer, William Williams (171791). The medieval attitude lingered on in parts of Ireland, Scotland, and Brittany long after it had disappeared elsewhere; consequently, those parts remained exceptionally rich in folklore up to the 20th century. The long absence of any native self-government, together with nonvernacular educational policies, delayed the development of Celtic-language prose to meet the needs of modern life, as well as the adoption of new literary forms such as the novel. The decline of Celtic languages forced users to become bilingual, while writers tended to adopt the second or foreign tongue as a means of literary expression: hence the existence of Anglo-Irish, Anglo-Scottish, Anglo-Welsh, and Franco-Breton schools of writing. Nevertheless, the various language-revival movements have produced writers who use Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, and Breton with great vitality to compose remarkably successful novels, short stories, and plays, as well as some strikingly modern poetry. the body of writings composed in Gaelic and the languages derived from it, Scottish Gaelic and Manx, and in Welsh and its sister languages, Breton and Cornish. For writings in English by Irish, Scottish, and Welsh authors, see English literature. French-language works by Breton authors are covered in French literature. Additional reading General works For a survey of modern Celtic literatures, see J.E. CaerwynWilliams (ed.), Literature in Celtic Countries (1971).Other works on Celtic literatures include H. Munro Chadwick and N. Kershaw Chadwick, The Growth of Literature, vol.1, The Ancient Literatures of Europe (1932, reprinted 1968); Kenneth Jackson, Studies in Early Celtic NaturePoetry (1935, reprinted 1977), and A Celtic Miscellany: Translationsfrom the Celtic Literatures, rev. ed. (1971); Pierre-yvesLambert, Les Littratures celtiques (1981); Magnus Maclean, The Literatures of the Celts (1902,reprinted 1970); and Alwyn Rees and Brinley Rees, Celtic Heritage: Ancient Tradition in Ireland and Wales (1961,reprinted 1978). See also Rachel Bromwich, Medieval CelticLiterature: A Select Bibliography (1974). Irish Gaelic General works include Aodh De Blcam, GaelicLiterature Surveyed (1929, reprinted 1974), a popular account; Myles Dillon, Early Irish Literature (1948); Proinsias Mac Cana, Literature in Irish (1980); Frank O'Connor, A Short History of Irish Literature:A Backward Look (U.K. title, The Backward Look: A Surveyof Irish Literature, 1967); James Carney, Studiesin Irish Literature and History (1955, reissued 1979); Robin Flower, The Irish Tradition (1947, reprinted 1979); DouglasHyde, A Literary History of Ireland from Earliest Times tothe Present Day, new ed. (1967, reprinted 1980); Eleanor Knott and Gerard Murphy, Early Irish Literature (1966); Brian Cuv (ed.), Seven Centuries of IrishLearning: 1000-1700, 2nd ed. (1971); Patrick C. Power, A Literary History of Ireland (1969); and J.E.Caerwyn Williams and Mirn N Mhuirosa, Traidisin Litearthana nGael (1979).Studies of Irish Gaelic poetry include David Greene and Frank O'connor (eds.), A Golden Treasury of IrishPoetry AD 600 to 1200 (1967), with excellent translations; Tadhg Dall Huiginn, A bhfuil aguinn dr chum TadhgDall Huiginn (1550-1591), ed. and trans. by EleanorKnott, 2 vol. (192226), one of the best studies ofthe bardic system and technique, with English translations of Huiginn'spoems (vol. 2); Osborn Bergin, Irish Bardic Poetry (1970); Eleanor Knott, Irish Classical Poetry, rev.ed. (1966, reprinted 1974); Sen Mac Ramoinn, The Pleasures of Gaelic Poetry (1982); GerardMurphy, Early Irish Lyrics, Eighth to Twelfth Century (1956,reprinted 1970); and Sen Tuama, An Duanaire:An Irish Anthology: 1600-1900, Poems of the Dispossessed, Thomas Kinsella (1981).For studies of Irish myths and folk literature, see AlanBruford, Gaelic Folk-Tales and Mediaeval Romances:A Study of the Early Modern Irish `Romantic Tales' and Their OralDerivatives (1969); J.H. Delargy, TheGaelic Story Teller, Proceedings of the British Academy, 31:177221 (1945); Myles Dillon, The Cycles of the Kings (1946,reprinted 1977); Myles Dillon (ed.), Irish Sagas (1959, reissued1968); Proinsias Mac Cana, The Rise ofthe Later Schools of filidheacht, riu, 25:126146(1974), and The Learned Tales of Medieval Ireland (1980); Thomas F. O'rahilly, Early Irish History andMythology (1946, reprinted 1957); Sen Silleabhin, Storytelling in Irish Tradition (1973); and Sen Silleabhin and Reidar Th. Christiansen, TheType of the Irish Folktale (1963). See also Cadimhn Danachair (kevin Danaher), A Bibliographyof Irish Ethnology and Folk Tradition (1978). Scottish Gaelic (Verse anthologies): A. Maclean Sinclair, The Gaelic Bards, 1411-1765, 2 vol. (189092), and TheGaelic Bards from 1825 to 1875 (1904); Alexander Cameron, Reliqui Celtic: Texts, Papers and Studies in GaelicLiterature and Philology, 2 vol. (189294); JohnMackenzie (ed.), Sar-obair nam Bard Gaelach; or, The Beautiesof Gaelic Poetry, and Lives of the Highland Bards, new ed. (1904); J.F. Campbell, Leabhar na Finne: HeroicGaelic Ballads Collected in Scotland Chiefly from 1512 to 1871 (1872,reissued 1972); Alexander Carmichael etal. (eds.), Carmina Gadelica: Hymns and Incantations withIllustrative Notes on Words, Rites, and Customs, Dying and Obsolete, 6vol. (190071); William J. Watson, Bardachd Ghaidhlig:Specimens of Gaelic Poetry, 1550-1900, 3rd ed. (1959, reissued1976); and William J. Watson (ed.), ScottishVerse from the Book of the Dean of Lismore (1937, reprinted1978). (Prose anthologies): William J. Watson (ed.), Rosg Gaidhlig: Specimens of Gaelic Prose, 2nd ed.(1929); J.F. Campbell (comp.), Popular Talesof the West Highlands, 4 vol., 2nd ed. (189093, reprinted198384); John G. McKay (trans.), MoreWest Highland Tales, 2 vol. (194060). (Studies) Derick S. Thomson, An Introduction to GaelicPoetry (1974); Kurt Wittig, The ScottishTradition in Literature (1958, reissued 1972); AdamJ. Aitken, Matthew P. Mcdiarmid, and Derick S. Thomson (eds.), Bards and Makars: Scottish Language and Literature: Medievaland Renaissance (1977); John Macinnes, TheOral Tradition in Scottish Gaelic Poetry, ScottishStudies, 12:2943 (1968), and The PanegyricCode in Gaelic Poetry and Its Historical Background, Transactionsof the Gaelic Society of Inverness, 50:435498 (197678).A bibliography of modern Scottish Gaelic works can be found in Donald John Macleod (ed.), Twentieth CenturyPublications in Scottish Gaelic (1980). See also DerickS. Thomson (ed.), The Companion to Gaelic Scotland (1983). Manx Henry Jenner, The Manx Language: ItsGrammar, Literature and Present State, Transactionsof the London Philological Society, 23:172197 (187576); William Harrison (ed.), Mona Miscellany: A Selectionof Proverbs, Sayings, Ballads, Customs, Superstitions, and LegendsPeculiar to the Isle of Man (1869), and Mona Miscellany:Second Series (1873); Manx Miscellanies, 2 vol. (187280),published by the Manx Society; Yn Vible Casherick . . . ,3 vol. (1771), reprinted in 1 vol. as Bible Chasherick yn lughtthie: The Manx Family Bible (1979), with new prefatory matterby R.L. Thomson; A.W. Moore, TheFolk-lore of the Isle of Man (1891); A.W. Moore (ed.), Manx Carols (1891), and Manx Ballads and Music (1896,reprinted 1984); Church Of England, The Bookof Common Prayer in Manx Gaelic, ed. by A.W. Moore and John Rhys, 2 vol. (189394); R.L. Thomson, The Manx Traditionary Ballad, tudes Celtiques, 9:521548 (196061),and 10:6087 (1962). Welsh An authoritative treatment is given in Thomas Parry, A History of Welsh Literature (1955, reprinted 1970; originallypublished in Welsh, 1944); and in R.M. Jones, LlenyddiaethGymraeg, 1936-1972 (1973). See also Rachel Bromwich (ed.), Trioedd Ynys Prydein: The Welsh Triads, 2nd ed. (1978); Nora Chadwick, The British Heroic Age:The Welsh and the Men of the North (1976); GlenysGoetinck, Peredur: A Study of Welsh Tradition in the Grail Legends (1975); Kenneth Jackson, The International Popular Taleand Early Welsh Tradition (1961); Glyn Jones and John Rowlands, Profiles: A Visitors' Guideto Writing in Twentieth Century Wales (1980); A.O.H.Jarman and Gwilym Rees Hughes (eds.), A Guideto Welsh Literature, 2 vol. (197679); GeraintH. Jenkins, Literature, Religion and Society inWales, 1660-1730 (1978); Gwyn Jones and Thomas Jones (trans.), The Mabinogion, new ed. (1975); R.M. Jones, Highlights inWelsh Literature: Talks with a Prince (1969); SaundersLewis, A School of Welsh Augustans: Being a Studyin English Influences on Welsh Literature During Part of the 18thCentury (1924, reissued 1969), and An Introduction to ContemporaryWelsh Literature (1926); Roger Sherman Loomis, Walesand the Arthurian Legend (1956, reprinted 1978), and TheGrail, from Celtic Myth to Christian Symbol (1963); ProinsiasMac Cana, The Mabinogi (1977); and T.J. Morgan (ed.), TheWelsh Literary Tradition, The Welsh Review, 6(4):232268(Winter 1947).An anthology of verse in the Welsh language, with notes in English,is Thomas Parry (ed.), The Oxford Book of WelshVerse (1962, reprinted 1981); and a popular and general treatmentis Gwyn Williams, An Introduction to Welsh Poetry: Fromthe Beginnings to the Sixteenth Century (1952, reissued 1970).Other studies of Welsh poetry include: H.I. Bell, TheDevelopment of Welsh Poetry (1936); Rachel Bromwich (trans.), Dafydd ap Gwilym: A Selection of Poems (1982); RachelBromwich and R. Brinley Jones (eds.), Astudiaethauar yr Hengerdd: Studies in Old Welsh Poetry (1978); JosephP. Clancy (comp. and trans.), The Earliest Welsh Poetry (1970), Medieval Welsh Lyrics (1965), and Twentieth Century WelshPoems (1982); A.O.H. Jarman, The Cynfeirdd: EarlyWelsh Poets and Poetry (1981); R. Gerallt Jones (ed.and trans.), Poetry of Wales, 1930-1970 (1974); J.Lloyd-Jones, The Court Poets of the Welsh Princes, Proceedings of the British Academy, 34:167197 (1948); Ifor Williams, Lectures on Early Welsh Poetry (1944,reprinted 1970), and The Beginnings of Welsh Poetry: Studies, Rachel Bromwich, 2nd ed. (1980); and J.E.Caerwyn Williams, The Poets of the Welsh Princes (1978).An indispensable bibliography is Thomas Parry and Merfyn Morgan (eds.), Llyfryddiaeth Llenyddiaeth Gymraeg (1976). Cornish Jane A Bakere, The Cornish Ordinalia: A CriticalStudy (1980); P. Berresford Ellis, The CornishLanguage and Its Literature (1974); Henry Jenner, TheHistory and Literature of the Ancient Cornish Language, TheJournal of the British Archaeological Association, 33:137157(1877); Robert Longsworth, The Cornish Ordinalia:Religion and Dramaturgy (1967); Edwin Norris (ed.and trans.), The Ancient Cornish Drama, 2 vol. (1859, reprinted1968); Whitley Stokes (ed. and trans.), BeunansMeriasek: The Life of Saint Meriasek, Bishop and Confessor: A Cornish Drama (1872); Paula Neuss (ed. and trans.), The Creacion ofthe World: A Critical Edition and Translation (1983); and John J. Parry, The Revival of Cornish:An Dasserghyans Kernewek, PMLA, 61:258268 (1946). Breton Yann Brekilien, Le Breton, langue celtique (1976); Loeiz Herrieu, La Littrature bretonne depuisles origines jusqu'au XXe sicle (1943); Anatole Le Braz, Le Thtre celtique (1904); P. Le Goff, Petite histoire littraire dudialecte breton de Vannes (1924); Camille Le MercierD'erm, Les Bardes et potes nationaux de la Bretagne armoricaine:anthologie contemporaine des XIXe-XXe sicles (1919, reprinted 1977); HersartDe La Villemarqu (ed. and trans.), Barzaz Breiz: chantspopulaires de la Bretagne, 6th ed. (1867, reprinted 1981); F.M. Luzel (ed.), Gwerziou Breiz-Izel: chantspopulaires de la Basse-Bretagne, 2 vol. (186874),and Soniou Breiz-Izel: chansons populaires de la Basse-Bretagne, 2vol. (1890), both studies reprinted as Chants et chansons populairesde la Basse-Bretagne, 4 vol. (1971); Francis Gourvil, Langue et littrature bretonnes (1952, reissued 1976), and Thodore-Claude-HenriHersart de La Villemarqu (1815-1895) et le "Barzaz-Breiz" (1839-1845-1867) (1960),a study critical to the understanding of 19th-century Breton literatureand Breton literary movements; Joseph Rousee, La Posiebretonne au XIXe sicle (1895); YvesMarie Rudel, Panorama de la littrature bretonne, des origines nos jours (1950). J.E. Caerwyn Williams Breton The three major periods of Breton literature Old Breton (8th to 11th century) is found onlyin lists and glosses in documents or as names in Latin books and charters.From the Middle Breton period (11th to 17th century) the 11th- to15th-century compositions were mainly oral, and little except afew scraps of verse is extant until the late 15th century, whenthere appeared the Catholicon ofJean Lagadeuc, a BretonLatinFrenchdictionary printed in 1499, and Quiquer de Roscoff's FrenchBreton dictionaryand conversations (printed 1616). A 17th-century collection, Cantiquesbretons (1642), names several Breton airs. All the remainingworks of the middle period were religious and mostly in verse. Threemystery plays were probably the most significant products of theperiod: Buez santez Nonn (Life of St. Nonn), Burzud bras Jesuz (The Great Mystery of Jesus),and Buhez santes Barba (Life of St. Barbara).Three long poems, Tremenvan an itron gwerches Maria (ThePassion of the Virgin Mary), Pemzec levenezMaria (The Fifteen Joys of Mary),and Buhez mabden (The Life of Man),were all probably based on French versions. A book of hours in verse,a prose extract from the Leon missal, and a prose catechism belongto this period, as does the prose Buhez an itron sanctes Cathell,guerches ha merzeres (Life of St. Catherine, Virginand Martyr). Am Mirouer a Confession (TheMirror of Confession) and Doctrin an Christenien (Christian'sDoctrine) are translated from the French. A collectionof carols, An Nouelou ancientha devot (Ancient and Devout Songs), appearedin 1650, and a book of metrical meditations in 1651. In general,Middle Breton literature lacked originality, and the indigenousculture of Brittany seems to have been entirely neglected by theeducated classes, who introduced an enormous number of French wordsinto the vocabulary. Modern Breton is said to have begun in 1659, when Julien Maunoir introduced a more phoneticorthography, but works of the Middle Breton type appeared untilthe 19th century. The bulk of Breton literature in this period consistedof mystery and miracle plays treating subjects from the Old andNew Testaments, saints' lives, and stories of chivalryderived from French or Latin. Even plays depicting Breton saintsevinced little originality. In the 18th century many Breton dictionarieswere published but little of literary significance was produced. Onename survives: Claude-Marie Le La, who wrote satiric poems. The revival of Breton literature Interest in Breton, which revived at a time when France'scentral government was trying to impose French on Brittany and destroythe regional language, was particularly stimulated with the publicationof the celebrated Barzaz Breiz (originally Barzas-Breiz, 1839; Breton Bardic Poems).This collection of poems was compiled by Thodore Hersartde La Villemarqu, who declared that they had survivedunchanged as part of Breton folklore. Breton-speaking scholars doubtedthe collection's authenticity, and attacks reached theirheight when R.-F. Le Men, in a reprinting in about 1870 of Catholicon, and Franois-Marie Luzel, in a paper delivered in 1872, showedthat Barzaz Breiz was not authentic (though scholars duringthe period often edited such collected material). BarzazBreiz led to a renaissance of Breton writing and stimulatedLuzel to collect authentic folk songs and publish Gwerziou Breiz-Izel (2 vol., 186874; Balladsof Lower Brittany) and, in collaboration with Anatole Le Braz, SoniouBreiz-Izel (2 vol., 1890; Folk Songs of Lower Brittany).In the 1980s Donatien Laurent, the first to have had access to Villemarqu'spapers, demonstrated that some of the poems were authentic. Cornish The oldest remains of Cornish are proper namesin the Bodmin Gospels and in the Domesday Book, 10th-century glosseson Latin texts, and a 12th-century vocabulary based on Aelfric's LatinAnglo-Saxonglossary. The earliest literary text in Middle Cornish is a 41-linefragment of a drama, written about 1400, in which a girl is offeredas wife, praised for her virtues, and counseled on her behaviour. Theother plays that have survived complete or in part are related tothe medieval miracle and morality plays. Of these the most important is the Ordinalia, atrilogy written in Middle Cornish (probably late 14th century) anddesigned to be acted on three consecutive days, perhaps in a plen-an-gwary (play-field).The first play, the OrigoMundi (Origin of the World), is based onthe Old Testament and serves as a prologue to the other two, the Passio Domini Nostri IhesuChristi; and the ResurrexioDomini Nostri Ihesu Christi. Lacking a treatment of the Nativityand of the ministry of Jesus, the scheme underlying the Ordinalia ismore like that of the great French Passions than that of the EnglishCorpus Christi cycle. The Pascon Agan Arluth (Passionof Our Lord), of which 259 stanzas have survived, haspassages common to the Ordinalia and must have been composedabout the same time. Beunans Meriasek (TheLife of Meriasek [or Meriadoc]), on the patron saint ofCamborne, is held to be considerably later: the manuscript in whichit is found was completed in 1504 by one Dominus Hadton, thoughtto have been a canon of the Collegiate Church of Glasney. Gwreans an Bys (The Creationof the World), surviving in a text written in 1611, wasintended to be the first of three plays and seems to be an extendedand reworked version of the Origo Mundi. Written in Late Cornish,it is the latest of the Cornish religious plays. The Protestant Reformation destroyed thementality that had created and enjoyed these plays, although thereis evidence that the destruction was slow. Unfortunately the Reformation providedno work in the Cornish language that could take the place of the plays.A few people recognized that the Bible and the Book of Common Prayershould be made accessible to the monoglot Cornishmen, but little wasdone to that end. John Tregear translated into Cornish 12 of Bishop EdmundBonner's sermons and a 13th sermon from an unidentifiedsource, and it is probably significant that this translation waslost and not rediscovered until 1949. Attempts have been made to revive the use of Cornish as a spokenand written language. Among the societies and movements that haveworked to this end are the Cornish-Celtic Society, The Old Cornwall Society,Land and Language, The Sons of Cornwall, and The Cornish LanguageBoard; and among the papers or periodicals these have promoted, Kernow (Cornwall), An Lef (The Voice), An Lef Kernewek (TheCornish Voice), and Hedhyu (Today) havebeen notable for the attention they have given to compositions in Cornishmostlypoems, short stories, and short plays. Among the Cornish languagerevivalists are Henry Jenner, R. Morton Nance, and A.S.D. Smith. Irish Gaelic The introduction of Celticinto Ireland has not been authoritatively dated, but it cannot belater than the arrival there of the first settlers of the La Tneculture in the 3rd century BC. The language is often describedin its earliest form as Godelic, named after the Celts(Godil; singular, Godel) who spoke it. The modernform, known in English as Gaelic (in Gaelic called Gaedhilge orGaeilge), is derived from the Scottish Gidhlig. The earliest evidence of Irish Gaelic consists of archaic sepulchralinscriptions in the ogham alphabet basedon a system of strokes and notches cut on the edges of stone orwood usually ascribed to the 4th and 5th centuries AD. Writingsin the Roman alphabet date from 8th-century glosses in Old Irish,but 7th- and even 6th-century compositions are preserved in muchlater manuscripts. Four distinct periods are recognizable in Irish Gaelic literature. Theearly literature (linguistically Archaic, Old, and Early MiddleIrish), was composed by a professional class, the fili (singular,fili), and by churchmen. The medieval literature (linguisticallylate Middle and Classical Modern Irish) was dominated by the layand hereditary bardic orders. In the late literature (17th centuryto the end of the 19th) authorship passed into the hands of individualsamong the peasants, the class to which most Irish speakers had beenreduced, using the dialects into which the language had been brokenup. The subsequent revival has continued to the present day. Early period Irish literature was originally aristocratic and was cultivatedby the fili, who seem to have inheritedthe role of the learned priestly order represented in Caesar'sGaul by the Druids, vates (seers), andbards and to have been judges, historians, and official poets responsiblefor all traditional lore and the performance of all rites and ceremonies.The arrival of Christianity and the gradualdisappearance of paganism led to the abandonment of their specificallypriestly functions. Nevertheless, the fili seem to have retainedresponsibility for the oral transmission of native lore or learning,which was in marked contrast to the new book or manuscript learningof the Christian Church. Fortunately, the ecclesiastical scholarswere not as hostile to the native lore as were their counterpartsabroad, and they appear to have been eager to commit it to writing.As a result, Ireland's oral culture was extensively recordedin writing long before it could have evolved that art itself. Therecord consisted mainly of history, legendary and factual; laws;genealogies; and poems, but prose was the predominant vehicle. The fili were powerful in early Irish society and were often arrogant,enforcing their demands by the threat of a lampoon (er), a poet's curse that couldruin reputations and, so it was thought, even kill. The laws setout penalties for abuse of the er, and belief in its powerscontinued up to modern times. The official work of the fili has beenpreserved in fragments of annals and treatises. Manx Although they succeeded in establishing theirlanguage on the Isle of Man, the Gaels lost their hegemony overthe island to the Norse in the 9th century and recovered it onlyfrom 1266 to 1333, when they lost it again to the English. Theywere consequently unable to provide there, as they did in Irelandand Scotland, the aristocratic support needed by the bardic institution.This, and the fact that Manx and Scottish Gaelic did not deviatesignificantly from Irish until the 16th century, explains why nomedieval literature specifically identifiable with the island survives,and why such modern literature as exists, apart from translationliterature, is predominantly folklore. The Reformation's slow progress on the island is reflectedin the comparatively late appearance of a Manx translationof the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer. The latter was completedabout 1610 by a Welshman, John Phillips,bishop of Sodor and Man, but it remained unpublished until it wasprinted in 189394 side by side with the 1765 version madeby the Manx clergy. Translating the Bible into Manx was indeed a formidable task becausethe clergy on whom it fell had but few scholars among them and noliterary tradition to draw upon. A start was made in 1748 with the appearanceof a Manx version of the Gospel According to St. Matthew. A revisionof Matthew and a translation of the other Gospels and of the Acts appearedin 1763, and the remainder of the New Testament in 1767. The translationof the Old Testament was published in two parts: Genesis to Estherin 1771, Job to Malachi with two books of the Apocrypha in 1773. The Holy Scriptures were not the only religious books to be translated.Bishop Thomas Wilson's Principlesand Duties of Christianity appeared in English and Manx in 1699,and 22 of his sermons appeared in a Manx translation in 1783. Moreinteresting are Pargys Caillit, theparaphrase translation of Milton's Paradise Lost, whichwas published in 1794 and reprinted in 1872, and Coontey ghiareyeh Ellan Vannin (The ShortAccount of the Isle of Man), written in Manx by JosephBridson and printed as the 20th volume of the Publications of theManx Language Society. As late as 1901 there appeared from the press Skeealyn sop, a selection of Aesop's fables. More characteristic of Manx folk culture were the ballads and carols,or carvels. Among the most notableof the former are an Ossianic ballad describing the fate of Finn'senemy, Orree; the Manx Traditionary Ballad, a history of the island tothe year 1507 made up of a mixture of fact and fiction; and theballad on the death of Brown William; i.e., William Christian,shot as a traitor in 1663. The carvels differ from Englishcarols because they take as their subject not so much the Nativityas the life of Jesus, his crucifixion, and the Last Judgment. Theywere sung by individuals in church on Christmas Eve. With the spreadof Nonconformity on the island, Manx translations of some of the popularhymns of the Methodist Revival were published. Scottish Gaelic Writings of the medieval period The earliest extantScottish Gaelic writing consists of marginalia added in the 12th centuryto the Latin Gospels contained in the 9th-century Book of Deer. The most important earlyGaelic literary manuscript is The Bookof the Dean of Lismore, an anthology of verse compiled between1512 and 1526 by Sir James MacGregor, deanof Lismore (Argyllshire), and his brother Duncan. Its poems fallinto three main groups: those by Scottish authors, those by Irishauthors, and ballads concerned with Ossian, the mythical warriorand bard. This is the earliest extensive anthology of heroic Gaelicballads in either Scotland or Ireland. The Scottish Gaelic poemsdate from about 1310 to 1520. The bard best represented is Fionnlagh Ruadh, bard to John, chiefof clan Gregor (died 1519). There are three poems by Giolla Coluim mac an Ollaimh, a professionalpoet at the court of the Lord of the Isles and almost certainlya member of the MacMhuirich bardic family, the famous line of hereditarybards whose work spans nearly 500 years from the 13th to the 18thcentury. Perhaps the most notable of the other poets is Giolla CrostBrilingeach and two women, Aithbhreac Inghean Coirceadailand Isabella, countess of Argyll. Continuation of the oral tradition Some 16th-century Gaelic poetry survived in oral tradition until themid-18th century, when it was written down. Examples are An Duanag Ullamh (The FinishedPoem), composed in honour of Archibald Campbell, 4th earlof Argyll, and the lovely lament Griogal Cridhe (TeasingHeart; c. 1570). It is certain that the poetryrecorded in The Book of the Dean of Lismore was not an isolatedoutburst; much professional and popular poetry must have been lost.Songs in the nonsyllabic, accented measures survived, again orally,from the early 17th century. This was the tradition that producedthe work songse.g., waulking songs used when fullingcloth. In 1567 appeared the first book printed in Gaelic in Scotland: BishopJohn Carswell's Foirm na n-Urrnuidheadh a translationof John Knox's liturgy, in Classical Common Gaelic. Welsh Literature of the Middle Ages Poetry. Welsh literature has extended in an unbroken tradition from about the middle of the 6th century to the present day, but, except for two or three short pieces, all pre-Norman poetry has survived only in 12th- to 15th-century manuscripts. Welsh had developed from the older Brythonic by the middle of the 6th century. In the Historia Brittonum (c. 800) references are made to Welsh poets who, if the synchronism is correct, sang in the 6th century. Works by two of them, Taliesin and Aneirin, have survived. Taliesin wrote odes, or awdlau, in praise of the warlike deeds of his lord, Urien of Rheged, a kingdom in present-day southwest Scotland and northwest England. To Aneirin is attributed a long poem, Y Gododdin, commemorating in elegies an ill-starred expedition sent from Gododdin, the region where Edinburgh stands today, to take Catraeth (Catterick, North Yorkshire) from the invading Saxons. The background, inspiration, and social conventions of the poems of Taliesin and Aneirin are typically heroic, the language is direct and simple, and the expression terse and vigorous. These poems, and others that have not been preserved, set standards for later ages. The alliterative verse and internal rhyme found here were developed by the 13th century into the intricate system of consonant and vowel correspondence, or consonant correspondence and internal rhyme, called cynghanedd. The heroic tradition of poetry existed also in Wales proper and was continued after the break with North Britain in the mid-7th century. The earliest surviving example is a poem in praise of Cynan Garwyn of Powys, whose son Selyf was slain in battle. This poem struck a note that remained constant in all Welsh eulogies and elegies down to the fall of the Welsh bardic system: Cynan is the bravest in the field, the most generous in his home, all others are thrall to him and sing his praises. The period between the 7th and 10th centuries is represented by a few scattered poems, most of them in the heroic tradition, including Moliant Cadwallon (The Eulogy of Cadwallon), by Afan Ferddig, the elegy on Cynddylan ap Cyndrwyn of Powys in the first half of the 7th century, and Edmyg Dinbych (The Eulogy of Tenby), by an unknown South Wales poet. Poetry claiming to foretell the future is represented by Armes Prydain Fawr (The Great Prophecy of Britain), a stirring appeal to the Welsh to unite with other Britons, with the Irish, and with the Norse of Dublin to oppose the Saxons and to refuse the unjust demands of their great king, probably Athelstan of Wessex. Poetry outside the main bardic tradition is preserved in englyns (stanzas of three of four lines), a dialogue between Myrddin and Taliesin, and in Kanu y Gwynt (The Song of the Wind), a riddle poem that contains the germ of the later convention known as dyfaliad (kenning). The poems associated with the name Llywarch Hen are the verse remains of at least two sagas composed toward the middle of the 9th century by an unknown storyteller of Powys, whose basic material was the traditions associated with the historical Llywarch and Heledd, sister to Cynddylan ap Cyndrwyn. In these, it seems that prose (now lost) was used for narrative and description and verse for dialogue and soliloquy. The metrical form was embellished by alliteration, internal rhyme, and incipient cynghanedd. The theme of both sagas was lamentation for the glory that once had been. The background was the heroic struggle of the Welsh of Powys against the Saxons of Mercia. Some fragments of poetry preserved in the Black Book of Carmarthen (12th century) were parts of soliloquies or dialogues from other lost sagas. Examples are a conversation between Arthur and the doorkeeper Glewlwyd Mightygrasp; a monologue of Ysgolan the Cleric; verses in praise of Geraint, son of Erbin; and a fragment of what may be an early native version of the Trystan and Esyllt (Tristan and Iseult) story. The manuscript shows that there once existed a legend of Myrddin Wyllt, a wild man of the woods who went mad at the sight of a battle, a legend associated with Suibne Geilt in Ireland and with Lailoken in Scotland. This Myrddin (later better known as Merlin) had the gift of prophecy. The historical poet Taliesin also became the central prophetic figure in a folk tale that was given literary form in the 9th or 10th century, but that has survived only in certain monologues preserved in The Book of Taliesin and in garbled versions in late texts of Hanes Taliesin (Story of Taliesin). Nature, a source of similes in the heroic poetry and of symbolism in verse fragments of the sagas, was sometimes a subject of song in its own right. Generally, treatment of the subject was remarkable for its sensitive objectivity, its awareness of form, colour, and sound, and its concise, often epigrammatic, expression. In mood, matter, and form (that of the englyn) it often overlapped with gnomic poetry, which consisted of sententious sayings about man and nature. Most gnomic and nature poems were probably produced in the 10th and 11th centuries by poets other than professional bards. Toward the end of the pre-Norman period a few poems on religious, biblical, and other subjects showed acquaintance with nonnative legends. Saga poetry gradually gave way to prose. With the consolidation of the principality of Gwynedd under Gruffudd ap Cynan (10541137) and his descendants, court poetry flourished in the country, composed by the gogynfeirdd, or poets of the princes, who continued and developed the tradition of their predecessors, the cynfeirdd. The bardic order seems to have been reorganized, although no clear picture of it emerges from references in the poetry and law texts, and it seems to have been less schematized in practice than in theory. At the top of the order was the pencerdd (chief of song or craft), the ruler's chief poet, whose duty was to sing the praise of God, the ruler, and his family. Next came the bardd teulu, who was the poet of the ruler's war band although he seems to have been poet to the ruler's family as well. There were other, less exalted grades, with less exalted duties and the license probably to engage in satire and ribaldry. Bards were also graded according to proficiency. This classification led, under Henry IV, to the holding of an ei

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